I have about 40 hours of PAL VHS home movie tapes that I want to convert to digital & transfer to DVD. I am going to buy a new computer especially for this with a budget of around $2,000.00. I have a few questions that I would be very appreciative if any one can answer -
Any recommendatiions on suitable computer systems?
Do I need a digital camcorder to transfer or can I transfer from my video player (which plays PAL as well as NTSC?)
Is a firewire card a separate purchase/installation?
What budget priced editing software would suit my purpose?
Thanks for any help,
The key factor for you is that you have VHS (analog video) source material. The FireWire capture card won't be any help there although you will want that capability if you have/get a DV (digital video) camcorder.
I took a look at the primary options and the one that suited me best was a Matrox RT.X10. There are some cheaper analog/digital capture cards but a lot of them are limited to a resolution of 360x240 while the RT.X10 is 4x that (720x480). The $500 Matrox is a real-time-effects card which is not usually found in that price range – its big brother and a lot of the competition are at $1,000. Of special note is that, for your $500, you also get a full version of the new $549 Adobe Premiere 6.5 as well as DVDit! which lets you create your DVD's with multt-level menus. These may be overkill for your VHS-conversion project but it gives you the ability to do some high-end stuff later on.
As for the rest of the system, I got an ASUS P4S8X with a 2.4G P4 and it seems to handle anything I throw at it without the system even breaking a sweat (the system barely gets warm). I went heavy on the memory and storage (1GB and 360GB) plus got the Sony DRU-500AX burner. There are a lot of other bells and whistles - (Office XP Pro, a high-end graphics card, etc.) that got the price up to just under $3K. With recent price drops, I could probably build it now (3 months later) for 10% less. Strip away all the stuff that's unrelated to converting VHS to DVD, and it probably just a little over $2K ... but then again, I waited until I found smoking deals before I bought any of the major components.
The other option is to use a standalone DVD recorder to digitize the video, create the menus, and burn the DVD. Panasonic, Pioneer, and Philips all make them. So, if this is a one-time project, you might want to check them out.